Let me get this out of the way: I believe Jerusalem — certainly western Jerusalem; definitely the Jewish Quarter of the Old City; and even some neighborhoods in the eastern half of the city — are Israel’s rightful capital.
Given my view, one would assume I’m elated that President Donald Trump formally recognized Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel on Dec. 6, 2017.
I’m far from elated. In fact, I find it horrifying.
That’s because I detest Trump. Not surprisingly, I’ve been told I oppose Trump’s Jerusalem pronouncement merely because I loathe Trump. Bingo — that is absolutely correct! In fact, had any previous U.S. president officially recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, I would have wholeheartedly supported it.
I understand why some Israelis and Diaspora Jews support Trump’s recognition — after all, it’s Jerusalem. But the support is also tepid; no doubt due to apprehension about Trump and his administration. Unfortunately, some Jews and Israelis, it seems to me, are fawning over Trump like he’s a modern-day Jewish political hero on par with Israel’s greatest politicians and military heroes.
For example, Yisrael Katz, Israel’s transportation minister, proposed naming a railway station after Trump. This won’t be any old railroad station. Rather, this railroad station will be in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem — the location of the Western Wall and Temple Mount.
Apparently, it didn’t occur to Katz to name the train station after heroes like Motta Gur, Moshe Dayan, Uzi Narkiss, Yizhak Rabin or the Israeli soldiers who died fighting to liberate the Old City in 1967.
If Katz has his way, many thousands of people who visit the Jewish Quarter of the Old City will disembark (or embark) at the “Donald J. Trump Western Wall Plaza Train Station,” or whatever it will be called. Jerusalem and thousands of years of Jewish yearning for the holy city will be forever entwined with Trump’s name (brand?). Should that happen, it will be a moral stain on the Jewish people and the State of Israel. I realize that’s a pretty bold statement, but it’s true because Trump is a profoundly flawed human being.
Of course Trump is no Hitler, Stalin or Pol Pot; but the totality of the man represents the antithesis of Jewish moral teachings — actually, of all universal moral teachings. You don’t have to be a rabbi or Jewish scholar to know that.
Judaism puts great importance on the truth. Trump is a pathological liar. Judaism puts great importance on compassion. Trump has a disturbing fetish for cruelty toward others. Judaism puts great importance on marital fidelity. Trump has cheated on at least two of his wives, and boasted about seducing other men’s wives. Judaism puts great importance on business ethics. Trump is a poster boy for unethical business practices. Judaism puts great importance on tzedakah (justice or righteousness, but used to signify charity). The Donald J. Trump Foundation — which Trump has never donated to — is being dissolved because it violated federal rules on “self-dealing.” Judaism teaches that it’s the job of humanity to be stewards of the planet. Trump thinks climate change is a hoax and eagerly overturns environmental regulations. Judaism opposes racism — and, one would assume, anti-Semitism — yet Trump has made racist and anti-Semitic comments. Judaism considers Lashon hara — slander, gossiping, speaking ill of others — a serious sin. Trump … Do I even have to say it?
Oh, and Trump is also a self-admitted serial sexual molester. I’m too lazy to research it, but I’m pretty sure Judaism is against that, too.
The pro-Trump adulation is hardly commensurate with his supposedly “pro-Israel” Jerusalem policy. Trump merely articulated what the world already knows: Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. For example, when Egyptian President Anwar Sadat made his historic visit to Israel in 1977 to talk peace, he didn’t go to Tel Aviv — he went to the Knesset in Jerusalem.
The U.S. Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 stipulates that Jerusalem is the capital of the State of Israel; that it shall remain an undivided capital; and that the U.S. embassy will be established in Jerusalem no later than 1999. Obviously, the law has never been implemented. Why? Because the president has authority to delay the law for six months for national security reasons. Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama all invoked that presidential prerogative.
Guess what? Trump also signed the embassy waiver on June 1, 2017. He’s all talk.
But that’s a good thing—because his name will go down in infamy, regardless of the outcome of the Mueller investigation. His ugly legacy has already been written in stone.
For all of those reasons, Trump does not deserve a place of honor in Jewish history. (And American history!) The man has no honor; therefore, it is dishonorable to kiss his feet for any reason — but most certainly for the sake of Jerusalem.
Zak Mazur is a frequent contributor to the Chronicle. He lives in Glendale and is a digital marketing copywriter.